Celebrating volunteers of peace

iV corner, December 2007

“Let us imagine peace that begins in the minds, that extends to families, to communities, and to the nations.” This was a challenge posed to volunteers all over the world in 2006.

The iVolunteer volunteerism portal and community took the challenge to heart on December 5, 2007 when it organized a simple and reflective celebration of International Volunteer Day and National Volunteer Month this year.

“Volunteers of peace respect diversity,” Ms. Corazon Alma de Leon, our guest speaker, began her message of encouragement. “Neither gender nor background should constrain volunteering,” she explained. “Even age must not matter.”

Like an affirmation of that key principle, 80 volunteer leaders and managers from age 12 to 70 years filled the Harmony Hall of the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center in Makati that afternoon! They represented various non-government organizations, government institutions, companies, public schools, media, local networks and international organizations.

Volunteers of peace have big hearts that serve others in their full capacity. Ms. de Leon is an inspiring model on this. Her life stories—as a student leader of University of the Philippines, a volunteer advocate for the Correctional Institution for Women, then as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as Civil Service Commissioner, and, presently, as Secretary-General of the Philippine National Red Cross—are stories of great service, courage and perseverance.

Indeed, the commitment to serve others and to expect nothing in return comes from the beautiful nature inside each volunteer. It is the nature of peace. Volunteers need to discover and anchor on this individual peace.

And so the volunteers played the VirtueScope! Ms. Becky Ortega, Deputy National Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU Philippines), facilitated this game.

The VirtueScope is a fun way for a volunteer to identify at least six key virtues to focus on and apply in life throughout next year. The virtues (written in virtue cards) that he picks are unique to him, offering him an individualized map to recreate the very best in himself for his volunteer work and every aspect of his life.

The volunteers had a hearty time as the virtue cards affirmed their inner strengths or revealed a positive trait they weren’t aware of. Some were amazed at the accuracy of the virtues, which came out like answers for a need of the moment or reminders for things unresolved in their life.

Gentleness, faith, creativity, humility and tolerance are examples of volunteers’ virtues for 2008.

In the busywork of serving others, volunteers need to regularly pause–in prayer or meditation–to look into their individual peace and virtues. This way, they can create positive thoughts, pure feelings, and good wishes.

Then they can look outward once again, serve and carry on with their advocacies with courage, purpose and meaning.

Volunteers of peace are at peace with their selves, in their relationships, and with the world. It is peace within and powered by God. When volunteers put their faith in this peace, then the world becomes a much better place for all.

Peace must begin with each one of us. Through quiet and serious reflection on its meaning, new and creative ways can be found to foster understanding, friendships, and co-operation among all peoples. (Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations, September 1986)

Thanks to the following iVolunteers: Chaya Go, Shayne Merioles, Christy Planco, and Sheilan Villafranca. Thanks to the BKWSU Philippines for co-hosting the celebration and to the United Nations Volunteers Philippines for the blue and white balloons.

Want to view more photos of the event? :: yes ::
Want to find out what your 2008 VirtueScope is? :: yes yes! ::

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